The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

Will physarum consume human blood - a preliminary study

Pursuing my quest to create the Lex Luthor of the myxomycetes, I’ve been having a play.

200mg rolled oats were mixed with 100mg fresh human blood from a health 46 year old male and air dried for two days, these will henceforth be referred to as the bloody oats.

Fresh physarum strain ‘Mazie’ was raised from sclerotia for three days on filter paper and fed dampened uncooked rolled oats.

Test strips – 5x2cm strips of chromatography paper ( basically white blotting paper ), stacked three high for better moisture retention, saturated with water and drained.

18 strips laid out on one 25x25cm dish, at either end ( randomly chosen ) were placed plain oats and bloody oats. Blocks of wet florist's foam provided humidty in the chamber, this proved to be a bad idea due to their total lack of mechanical stability.

      Figure 1 - Red dots mark the position of bloody oats

A single colonised oat flake was placed in the middle of each strip and the dish covered. Photos were taken with flash every five minutes and the experiment run for 24 hours.

Results – 12 colonies moved exclusively onto the bloody oats, five went for both, one preferred the plain oat.

 

Conclusion – Physarum ‘Mazie’ prefers bloody oats to plain oats, if physarum could be bred for speed and size this could offer some unique possibilities for a nascent supervillain in need of an amorphous sidekick.

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Hmmm.

I wonder if you could use fussy slimes and build a petri dish setup that allows you to check the chemical makeup of a sample?

This paper might be of interest...

A slime mould pigment as indicator of acidity

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01603385

Summary

  1. 1.

    The yellow pigment of the slime-mouldPhysarum polycephalum is an acid-alkaline indicator with a color range from deep red orange to bright yellow green, and a corresponding pH range from 1 to above 8.

     
  2. 2.

    Within the slime-mould the pigment serves as an acid-alkaline indicator and shows the plasmodium to undergo changes ranging from pH 8 when fruiting to pH 1.6 (possibly 1.2) when a sclerotium is formed.

     
  3. 3.

    The suggestion is made that the yellow pigment of slime-moulds belongs to the group of respiratory ferments known as flavones, lyochromes, or flavins.

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